pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)

We have Jana over this weekend again.

Yesterday, she proudly showed me the dress she was wearing, and I said something to the effect of, “Yes, a nice dress!”

She said, “Nein, das ist kein dess, das ist ein Kleid!”

I said, “Yes, a dress!”, to which she replied, “Du kannst doch nicht echt sprechen!” :D

(Literally, that’s something like “You can’t really speak, can you!” but I suspect she meant something more along the lines of “You can’t speak properly, can you!” with it.)

Heh :)

I still speak English with her, though.

And she has learned at least a couple of words: this morning at the breakfast table, she said, “Hier ist ein horse.” To which Amy replied, “Auf englisch heißt das horse; auf deutsch heißt das ein Pferd!” :D

And just now, she had to go to the toilet, and she said, “Du sagst toila! Aber das ist besser, Toilette zu sagen.”

pne: A picture of a six-year-old girl (Amy)

We went to the central library today to pick up some children's books (especially English ones) for Amy. One of the books she brought home with her was a kind of "My first 1000 words" thing with Maisy Mouse.

And right now, she's sitting upstairs in the attic room with Jana, teaching her English: "Das hier heißt 'bicycle', und das hier 'television', und das hier ist 'table', und ...". Cute :)

pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)

Jana's English vocabulary contains at least three words now: after "horse" came "dummy" and "spoon".

There may be one or two more, depending on whether "/das maI/ dummy" is her pronunciation of "das ist mein Dummy" or of "that's my dummy". But she did greet me with "dass my dummy, dass my boon" this morning at breakfast.

pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)

When reading about other languages that have unaspirated voiceless stops, a common comparison is with the pronunciation, in English, of stops after word-initial /s/, as in "ski" vs "key", "stop" vs "top", and "spool" vs "pool". Supposedly, while /p t k/ are aspirated for most native English (and German, for that matter) speakers in initial position, they're unaspirated (but still voiceless) in English after /s/, which is the pronunciation to use in languages such as French or Spanish. (And some languages, such as Hindi, even differentiate between aspirated and unaspirated voiceless stops.)

Now, I never heard that in my own speech; I suppose I was influenced by the fact that phonemically, they're the same sound: /p t k/, so they feel the same.

I just got another bit of feedback to underline the validity of that, though :)

At breakfast, I told Jana that she had a spoon, and she repeated it as /by:n/ (as if spelled "Bühn" in German)—and I'm guessing that she interpreted the unaspirated voiceless stop as equivalent to her unaspirated voiced stop /b/ (same aspiration) rather than as equivalent to her aspirated voiceless stop /p/ (same voicing).

As to the pronunciation of the vowel, this is due to the realisation of my English /u/, which is not cardinal [u] but (at least sometimes)... something else which I'm not sure how to describe. I'm not sure whether it's less rounding, or whether it's fronting, or something. I'm guessing that she felt it was closer to her /y/ than to her /u/, at any rate.

Jana

Friday, 20 February 2009 16:41
pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)

Jana is over right now, and by herself for the first time: her mother went home for a bit and Amy is over at Erik's to play.

I was upstairs with her just now, and spoke to her in English while Stella spoke to her in German. And she even spoke English back to me a couple of times! She said "f'ower" and "bicey" (= bicycle) after hearing both words from me several times. So whee :)

And she's a right little chatterbox in German. Her most common words being "Heia" and "Lulli" (= Schnulli), since she loves playing with dolls and, apparently, they have to sleep a lot with a dummy in their mouths.

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pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)
Philip Newton

June 2015

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